Child Welfare Conference coming up

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The second annual North Dakota Indian Child Welfare Act Conference will be held Jan. 28 - 30 in Bismarck, N.D. The conference provides information about the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 as well as a forum to help states and tribes work together to improve understanding of the Act and compliance.

This year's conference theme "In the Spirit of ICWA: Culture, Compliance, Collaboration" illustrates the intent of the conference to bring the spirit and the mechanics of the law together.

This year's conference will keep several successful features of last year's and will add some new ones, says conference coordinator Cheryl Long Feather. "Back by popular demand is Judge William Thorne," said Long Feather, "and we've kept the same great caliber of speakers." Speakers include Judge William Thorne, a Pomo from Utah currently serving on the Utah Court of Appeals; B.J. Jones, attorney, tribal court judge and author of "The Indian Child Welfare Act Handbook" and Dr. John Red Horse, professor of Social Work and American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Another feature that will remain the same is the format, said Long Feather. "Participants really liked beginning our time together with a luncheon." The conference will begin on Jan. 28, with a luncheon and will end on Jan. 30 at noon. Other conference features are the final expert's panel, the significant number of continuing education credits for social workers and attorneys and the ease of registration.

This year's program will add tracks for beginner and advanced practitioners. There will also be sessions for problem solving and case studies.

Evening entertainment will include a Native American Comedy Night Jan. 29 at the Doublewood Inn. Comedians Mitch Factor and Vanessa Short Bull will be performing at 7 p.m.

The costs for the conference are again kept to a minimum through the sponsorship of area organizations. The cost of pre-registration from Jan. 11-27 is $55 and the cost of on-site registration on Jan. 28 is $85. To register or ask more information about the conference, contact the Native American Training Institute at (701) 255-6374 or register at their website at www.nativeinstitute.org.